DAY THREE - CLOSE OF PLAY

MIDDLESEX 270 a/o & 81-2

YORKSHIRE 390 a/o

Tim Bresnan completed one of the great hundreds of the county cricket summer at Lord’s today, going to a seven-and-a-half hour 142 not out as Yorkshire turned the tables on title rivals Middlesex in thrilling fashion. 

Bresnan’s brilliant 293-ball knock hauled Yorkshire to 390 in reply to Middlesex’s first innings’ 270, with Ryan Sidebottom then following up his own batting heroics from No11 by striking with the new ball as he and Jack Brooks dealt Middlesex two early blows before they recovered to 81 for 2 by the end of a gripping third day. Yorkshire, however, still lead by 39 runs. 

With 350 needed inside 110 first innings overs for the four batting bonus points that would keep alive their chances of a third successive Specsavers County Championship triumph, Bresnan actually led Yorkshire, who had slipped to 53 for 4 soon after he came to the crease on day two, to an improbable first innings lead of 120.

Bresnan was joined in key stands by Azeem Rafiq and Sidebottom, with whom he added 56 for the last wicket to clinch that crucial fourth batting point and put pressure back on Middlesex.

Middlesex, also searching for the win they require to clinch a first title since 1993, were left hugely frustrated as Bresnan and Rafiq, who was dropped on 33 and 38 before reaching 65, added 114 for the seventh wicket as Yorkshire reached 333 for 8 by lunch.

There was huge drama, however, either side of the interval as Rafiq was finally bowled through the gate by Tim Murtagh and, on the stroke of lunch, Steven Patterson edged Steven Finn to Ollie Rayner at second slip to go for 11.

Brooks then poked the fifth ball of the afternoon session straight to Nick Gubbins at mid on, off Murtagh, to depart for a duck, and suddenly Yorkshire were 334 for 9 and in danger of missing out on the fourth batting point they required – should they go on and win the match, of course – to stay in the title hunt.

With the field set back for Bresnan, and with Sidebottom defending stoutly, Yorkshire inched towards their 350 target – until, at 349 for 9 and just after 2pm, bad light followed almost immediately by rain forced the players off.

When play resumed, just over an hour later and now in bright sunshine, Sidebottom survived a huge shout for lbw from Toby Roland-Jones before turning the fast bowler for four and brandishing his bat high in celebration. Sidebottom went on to score 23 before being bowled by Rayner having a swing, while Bresnan clubbed Rayner into the Grand Stand for six and hit 12 fours besides.

Yorkshire resumed on an overnight 235 for 6 with Bresnan on 72 and Rafiq 20 and by the time the second new ball was taken, 11 overs into the third day, their total had moved quickly to 286 for 6 with Rafiq twice fending off fierce Finn lifters over the slip cordon for fours. Rafiq then deliberately uppercut Finn to third man where Nick Compton, diving forward, could not hold on to the catch.

Rafiq had another life when Rayner, at second slip, spilled a fast edge off James Franklin’s left arm seam, as he fell to his left, and Bresnan, on 99, had a scare when he was slow to respond to a call for a leg bye and was almost run out at the bowler’s end.

But Bresnan was soon celebrating, arms and bat aloft in triumph, after going to his sixth first-class hundred from 222 balls. Rafiq hit ten fours in his spirited 97-ball effort, hooking Murtagh for six and battling on bravely after being hit on the helmet on 53 by a short ball from Roland-Jones.

 The start of Middlesex’s second innings began with Sam Robson crookedly edging Sidebottom’s sixth ball to third slip, bagging a pair in the process, and Compton being bowled for 1 by an absolute beauty from Brooks, which nipped down the Lord’s slope to clip the top of off stump.

Gubbins and Dawid Malan, however, staunched the blood of a scoreboard showing 2 for 2 and, on a sunlit evening and before another sizeable and engrossed crowd, took their third wicket partnership to an unbroken 79. Gubbins has added an unbeaten 39 to his first innings 125 and Malan 37 not out.

It was a relatively gentle end to an action-packed day but more drama, on the final day, is surely guaranteed with both Middlesex and Yorkshire needing to win this game now that Somerset sit on top of the table having trounced Nottinghamshire at Taunton.

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TEA

YORSKHIRE 1ST INNS: 390 All Out

MIDDLESEX 1ST INNS: 270 All Out

Tim Bresnan completed one of the greatest hundreds of the county cricket summer at Lord’s today, going to 142 not out as Yorkshire turned the tables on title rivals Middlesex in thrilling fashion.

Needing 350 in their first innings for the four batting bonus points that would keep their chances of a third successive Specsavers County Championship triumph alive, Bresnan led Yorkshire to an improbable 390 all out – a lead of 120 – and was joined in key stands by Azeem Rafiq and No 11 Ryan Sidebottom, with whom he added 56 for the last wicket to clinch that crucial last batting point and put pressure back on Middlesex’s second innings.

Division One leaders Middlesex, also searching for the win they almost certainly require for their first title since 1993, were left hugely frustrated as Bresnan and Rafiq, who was dropped on 33 and 38 before reaching 65, added 114 for the seventh wicket to take Yorkshire to 333 for 8 by lunch.

There was huge drama, however, either side of the interval as Rafiq was finally bowled through the gate by Tim Murtagh and, on the stroke of lunch, Steven Patterson edged Finn to Ollie Rayner at second slip to go for 11. Jack Brooks then poked the fifth ball of the afternoon session straight to Nick Gubbins at mid on, off Murtagh, to depart for a duck, and suddenly Yorkshire were 333 for 9 and in danger of missing out on the fourth batting point they required – should they go on and win the match – to stay in the title hunt.

With the field set back for Bresnan, and with Sidebottom defending stoutly, Yorkshire inched towards their 350 target – until, at 349 for 9 and just after 2pm, bad light followed almost immediately by rain forced the players off. When play resumed, just over an hour later and now in bright sunshine, Sidebottom survived a huge shout for lbw from Toby Roland-Jones before turning the fast bowler for four and brandishing his bat high in celebration.

Sidebottom went on to score 23 before being bowled by Rayner having a swing, while Bresnan hit a six and 12 fours in his heroic 293-ball effort .

Yorkshire resumed on an overnight 235 for 6 with Bresnan on 72 and Rafiq 20 and by the time the second new ball was taken, 11 overs into the third day, their total had accelerated to 286 for 6 with Rafiq twice fending off fierce Steven Finn lifters over the slip cordon for fours.

Rafiq then deliberately uppercut Finn to third man where Nick Compton, diving forward, could not hold on to the catch. Rafiq had another life when Rayner, at second slip, spilled a fast edge off James Franklin’s left arm seam, as he fell to his left and Bresnan, on 99, had a scare when he was slow to respond to a call for a leg bye and was almost run out at the bowler’s end. But Bresnan was soon celebrating, arms and bat aloft in triumph, after going to his sixth first-class hundred from 222 balls.

Rafiq also hit ten fours in his spirited 97-ball effort, hooking Murtagh for six and battling on bravely after being hit on the helmet on 53 by a short ball from Roland-Jones.

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DAY THREE - LUNCH

YORKSHIRE 1ST INNS: 333 for 8

MIDDLESEX 1ST INNS: 270 All Out

Tim Bresnan completed one of the greatest innings of the county summer at Lord’s today, going to 108 not out by lunch on the third day as Yorkshire closed in on the four batting bonus points they need to stay in this season's thrilling Specsavers Championship title chase.

Division One leaders Middlesex, also searching for the win they almost certainly require to clinch a first title since 1993, were left hugely frustrated as Bresnan and Azeem Rafiq, who was dropped on 33 and 38 before reaching 65, added 114 for the seventh wicket to take Yorkshire to 333 for 8 by the interval.

With five sessions of the match remaining, Yorkshire led by 63. Rafiq was finally bowled through the gate by Tim Murtagh and, on the stroke of lunch, Steven Patterson edged Finn to Ollie Rayner at second slip to go for 11 to provide yet another twist in what has been a captivating contest.

Needing to score 350 to claim the number of batting points that would keep them in the hunt for a third consecutive championship, Yorkshire resumed their first innings on 235 for 6 with Bresnan on 72 and Rafiq 20. By the time the second new ball was taken, after 11 overs, Yorkshire’s total had accelerated to 286 for 6 with Rafiq twice fending off fierce Steven Finn lifters over the slip cordon for fours. Rafiq then deliberately uppercut Finn to third man where Nick Compton, diving forward, could not hold on to the catch.

Rafiq had another life when Rayner, at second slip, spilled a fast edge off James Franklin’s left arm seam, as he fell to his left and Bresnan, on 99, had a scare when he was slow to respond to a call for a leg bye and was almost run out at the bowler’s end. But Bresnan was soon celebrating, arms and bat aloft in triumph, after going to his sixth first-class hundred from 222 balls, with ten fours.

Rafiq also hit ten fours in his spirited 97-ball effort, hooking Murtagh for six and battling on bravely after being hit on the helmet on 53 by a short ball from Toby Roland-Jones.